Winter 20

 

User Experience

Feature

Benefit

Launch Performance

Significantly improved launch performance (almost twice as fast!).  Reduced the time required for new users to launch an application or desktop for the first time from about 1 minute to about 25 seconds.  Reduced application launch time for existing users from about 15 to 7 seconds.

Graphics Performance (beta)

Significant improvements for graphics and video performance available in beta.  Internally, we call this “ludicrous mode”. While technically challenging, we improved compression and decompression, enabling faster rendering for graphics-intensive applications and video in the browser.

App Store Sorting

Sorting of applications/desktops in the App Store.  For new users, applications will appear in alphabetical order by default.  For returning users, applications will be sorted by frequency of use by default.  Users may also toggle between alphabetical and frequency sorting using buttons or search for an application by name in the App Store.

Cloud Mounter Enhancements

Enabled mounting of Box.com drive.  Completed Google verification process, enabling mounting of GDrive without the security warning.  Improved metadata syncing. Fixed a “Save As” issue enabling users to rename files. Updated Help documentation to recommend users copy large files to the desktop, rather than editing them directly in the mounted drive.

Dual Monitor (beta)

Ability to use multiple monitors. The desktop must be launched in multimonitor mode. Then users can open additional browser tabs with the click of a button. Tabs can be dragged to other monitors (usually just a second monitor) and resized as needed.

Classroom View (beta)

Ability for Faculty to view desktops of students who are online.  Classroom view leverages screen sharing capabilities. Faculty can view students’ desktops (multiple at once), click to view larger, or request full control.  This feature is available in beta form.  

Linux Desktop Enhancements

Support for XFCE4 and ubuntu desktops on Ubuntu 18.04. 
Support for Kali desktops (beta). 

Specific enhancements include:
- Moved network home directory to Linux only (no Windows ADFS fileshare)
- Improved launch performance

- Ensured closing the browser tab ends the Linux session

- Enabled screen sharing for Linux desktops

- Fixed caps lock issue

Reboot VM Button

Ability to reboot a Virtual Machine from a ribbon button.

Note: This button only appears in the menu when using a dedicated VM.

Inactivity Warning

When users are inactive for a period of time (ex. 30 min), the Windows session is ended.  Most applications autosave changes. But, some don’t. To prevent users from losing work, we have implemented a notification to warn users 2 minutes before the inactivity timeout. This “idle” message appears in the Windows desktop.

Wallpaper

Ability to customize wallpaper for your instance. Apporto can configure this on your behalf. Or, users with Windows administrative permissions can do this.

Bug fixes

Miscellaneous bug fixes:

- Ensured Messenger accounts get created for new SSO users

- Ensured Messenger contact groups are unique across instances
- Improved performance of Analytics chart

 

Admin Experience

Feature

Benefit

About Apporto

Ability to access information About Apporto from the Help menu in the upper right corner of the App Store and Admin Console.  Information includes the current version number, cloud platform, storage quota, and a link to the release notes. 

Notifications

Notifications in the Admin Console.  For activities that take longer than 30 seconds, a notification is provided when the activity completes.  Currently, notifications for User Import, Server Scheduling, License Reservation, and VM Reimaging have been implemented.  They are accessible via a “bell” icon in the upper right corner of the menu bar.

App-in-Desktop

For customers who want to give users access to individual applications via the App Store, but still provide the benefits of a desktop (e.g. familiar desktop experience, access to the Cloud Mounter, etc.), we have enabled a new delivery mechanism called app-in-desktop.

New Feature Settings

Ability for Admins/Sub-admins/Faculty to enable/disable the following desktop features by group (if their role has permission to the group):

 

- Copy paste

- Analytics (ribbon menu icon and session time and activity)

- Classroom view (applies only to faculty)

Time Zone Setting

Superadmin ability to set the time zone for an instance.  The time zone is used in the Calendar for server scheduling and license reservation.

Academic Calendar

Admin ability to define term start and end dates for the academic year.  Dates for the current term are used to filter the Faculty Dashboard and Analytics chart in the desktop. Full history is shown if the current term is undefined.

User Import Enhancements

Improvements to simplify the User Import experience. Clearer descriptions and menus. Improved error handling and history. Ability to import an ID field for SSO-enabled instances.

Server Access

Previously, only Apporto Admins could access servers.  For Winter 20, we’ve added the ability for Sub-admins and Faculty to access servers.

 

Note: Sub-admin and Faculty roles do not currently limit access to particular servers.  All servers will be accessible.

VM Imaging

Ability to backup, restore and re-image virtual machines.  A common use case is for Faculty teaching a computer science class.  After students have made changes to the VM, the faculty may wish to reset all VMs back to the golden image.

App Usage Limit

Ability to limit the amount of time (in hours) a user can use an application during the term.

Server Starting Alert

Because some applications (ex. Android Studio) require expensive bare metal servers, you may ask Apporto to shut servers down at night. If a user tries to launch an app when all servers are stopped, we start the first server and notify the user this can take 1-2 minutes.

Instance Storage Limit

Superadmin ability to set an instance storage limit (across all users).  A warning email will be sent to Admins when 80% of the limit is used. Additional storage can be purchased.

Announcements Enhancements

Larger font size and options (bold, italics, and underscore) for improved readability. The ability for Faculty and Tech Support to create, edit, and delete announcements for groups their role has permissions to. 

Faculty & Tech Support Guides

In addition to the End User and Administrator Guides, we’ve added Faculty and Tech Support Guides to the Apporto Help Center: 

https://www.apporto.com/helpcenter

Bug Fixes

Miscellaneous bug fixes and UI improvements:

 

- Improved performance and user experience for scheduling recurring events (prevented timeouts and added notifications when scheduling takes > 30 seconds)
- Ensured roles are correctly imported and not case sensitive

- Fixed an issue with storage quota resets

- Decreased sensitivity of poor network warnings

- Corrected sessions description (replaced forced disconnection with undetermined)

- Ensured custom feedback links do not break

 

Infrastructure

Feature

Benefit

Infrastructure 2.0

Migration Planning

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve redundancy and user experience, we have created a new infrastructure for our web servers. This new infrastructure we call IS 2.0 is hosted on MS Azure. We’ve begun setting up new customers with this architecture but need to work with existing customers to migrate to IS 2.0.  For existing customers, this will require exchanging new metadata to ensure SSO integrations continue to work. We will be sending notifications to impacted customers to coordinate this migration effort. 

Vulnerability Patches

Applied latest upgrades to 3rd party software to ensure vulnerabilities are patched.